Union Arbitration for Mickey Mouse
Charges were filed today with the National Labor Relations Board in Tampa, Florida by the union on behalf of Disney character performers. The board objected to the requirement that performers do not divulge which characters they portray to the public, including on performer’s social media accounts. A grievance was also filed with Disney’s Labor Relations Department.
Character Integrity Important for the Magic of Disney
Recently, performers have been asked to sign an electronic document agreeing that they will not discuss their characters on radio or TV, or in print or social media. Character performers have always been trained to not identify themselves in order to keep the illusion going for park visitors. Representatives from the character’s union say this new request takes the rule a step too far.
Concerned New Rules Could Affect Future Employability of Disney Performers
The union says it understands and supports Disney’s position on providing park goers with magic, but asking performers to sign off on confidentiality is too much. The concern is performers could be prevented from including their experience in their resume or sharing it in a way that could hurt their future employment opportunities.
Disney stated the electronic document changes nothing and performers have always been expected to maintain the integrity of their characters. That is why training included information on not sharing performer’s identities.
Stated Disney spokesperson Jacquee Wahler, “We are proud of the important role our characters play in the guest experience. This guideline is consistent with our longstanding expectation that Cast Members protect the magic for our guests.”